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Come and Play: The Gamelan - Saturday 25 January 2014

Come and Play: The Gamelan
Saturday 25 January 2014
National Centre for Early Music

As part of the York Resident's Festival 2014, the University of York's traditional Indonesian Gamelan (a set of tuned, bronze percussion instruments) made a return visit to the National Centre for Early Music for another day of Come and Play workshops. Gamelan Sekar Petak (the White Flower Gamelan) was commissioned by the University of York in 1981 from a maker in Surakarta, Central Java and was one of the first Javanese gamelan sets in the UK. Members of the public were given the chance to have hands-on experience of these instruments on 25 January during two workshop sessions, run by local community musician Emily Crossland and supported by members of the University of York Gamelan Ensemble.

Two groups of participants came to the National Centre for Early Music to find out more about Javanese gamelan music and its surrounding culture, through an exciting, hands-on exploration of genuine instruments. Members of the community worked together during the course of each two-hour session, in which they had the chance to play traditional pieces, hear about the background of the instruments and music, and create their own cyclic compositions.

Those who took part in the day had the following to say about their experience:
  • I enjoyed everything - it was nice and informal
  • I liked the clarity of teaching and the presentation of information
  • I enjoyed making music together and experiencing the gamelan
  • The whole morning was thoroughly enjoyable
  • I loved playing instruments I'd never played before and hearing about the gamelan traditions
  • I was pleased we were able to play a 'real' piece in one session! Really enjoyed it, thank you!
  • I enjoyed the hands on learning and participation

Below are examples of the first group's work:


Here are examples of the second group's playing: